‘Christmas Carol’ Takes Top Spot While ‘The Box’ Barely Makes Top Five at Friday Box-Office

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Nikki Finke delivers the top six at this weekend’s Friday box-office and I don’t think there is any big surprises here. As a matter of fact, I will be more interested in seeing how films such as The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Fourth Kind and The Box do in their second weekends. But let’s take this in order shall we?

Finke reports Disney’s A Christmas Carol took in a modest $9 million on Friday, which Finke suspects will ultimately result in $35-40 million for the weekend. Laremy Legel, our Box-Office Oracle, was bullish in predicting a $44.2 million weekend and is probably kicking himself, but you can’t blame him after taking theater counts and added 3-D revenue. I have heard the budget on this flick was $185 million, which is A TON, and now that Zemeckis has gone from Warner Bros., to Paramount/DreamWorks and now to Disney, I wonder who will be the next one to allow him to spend a bunch of money on a technology James Cameron appears to have perfected in his first try. I know he’s supposed lining up a few projects, including a remake of the Beatles’s The Yellow Submarine at Disney, but are studios going to continue to see this as a big budget viable option?

Coming in at #2 is the first of a group of thrillers this weekend as Universal’s The Fourth Kind leads the way with an estimated $5 million. Laremy had it in fourth (oh, you see what he did there?), and while his placement is off, his $12.6 million prediction will likely be close.

Third is the George Clooney and Ewan McGregor harmless psychic war skit The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I presume is likely to enjoy a solid opening weekend due to what Laremy refers to as “an interesting trailer,” but I bet it will only be enough for one go around. The film mustered $4.6 million on Friday and will likely settle in around $14 million for the weekend.

The other major wide release is Richard Kelly’s The Box, which is far too involved for a one-time viewing and should really come with a Cliff’s Notes handout prior to walking in. The film has some interesting things going on, but there are far too many of them for one sit down and considering there is enough of a story to make for what appears to be a simple tale on the surface it is likely to turn off opening weekend viewers to the point word-of-mouth will be dismal. The film managed a fifth place finish on Friday with only $2.85 million and will likely end up just shy of $8 million for the weekend. Not an impressive number for a studio effort, but this is hardly a film that should be made at a major. Kelly should stick with indie distribution where he can continue to let his imagination run wild as opposed to trying to satisfy the Hollywood fat cats.

Finally, the best film of the year so far is in limited release in 18 theaters and it’s doing quite well. Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire managed $585,000 on Friday with a per theater average of $32,500, and a predicted $1.7 million weekend. As I pointed out in my weekend preview, the film will be expanding throughout the month so check the official site to see when it hits your city and read my review as a primer.

All of Finke’s numbers for Friday are listed below. Come back tomorrow when Laremy will have the full weekend recap.

  1. A Christmas Carol – $9 million
  2. The Fourth Kind – $5 million
  3. The Men Who Star At Goats – $4.6 million
  4. Michael Jackson’s This Is It – $4.1 million
  5. The Box – $2.85 million
  6. Paranormal Activity – $2.8 million

  • Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire – $585,000